Here is an interesting article bringing up the issue of how to play with your child:
I agree with some of what they are saying, but not all!
I think there are two techniques to make this really work:
1 Set up a handicap system. I played squash racquets with my father for years with him having to get two server’s win points to get a point, while I only had to win one serve to win a point. Simple and effective for both of us since it allowed him to play a full game, not half hitting everything.
The other handicap my father used was to give a shot at golf for every shot I was behind. So if he won the first three holes, for instance, I would go into the fourth hole with three shots in hand. If I then won that hole, I would be back down to a handicap of 2. That way we were almost always neck and neck at the last hole and we had both played as hard as possible.
2 Play soft to aim for a draw. I think this is far less effective, but sometimes you have no choice. They key thing is to aim for as close to a draw as you can. They chance in the closing stages will randomly assign wins and losses in a natural way.
I played hours of soccer with my sons on this basis, constantly letting them tackle me. Then a few years in we were staying with some friends and the other father took them out to play. The three of them came back in having had a good time and my sons rushed up and said “Daddy, Daddy! Owen is really amazing at football. We couldn’t even touch the ball!” I am a little ashamed to say that they won our games together just a little less often after that day, whether it was good for them or not!